Richard Shepard has signed on to direct Model Woman, ABC’s period drama pilot set in the fashion world.

The project, from Sony TV’s TriStar Television and ABC Studios, is a fictionalized family soap inspired by Robert Lacey’s book Model Woman: Eileen Ford And The Business of Beauty, the recently published biography of the outspoken and controversial woman who started as a model and went on to co-found the famous Ford Modeling Agency with her husband Jerry.

Written by Reality Bites scribe Helen Childress, the show is set in the late 1970s during the notorious Model Wars and centers on Bertie Geiss – a tempestuous matriarch and uncompromising businesswoman at the helm of an internationally renowned modeling agency. Shepard’s directing gig stems from his overall deal with ABC Studios.

Shepard won an Emmy and DGA Award for directing the pilot of ABC’s Ugly Betty. His other pilots include Fox’s Rosewood, WGN America’s Salem and CBS’ Criminal Minds. Shepard also has directed multiple episodes of HBO’s Girls.

He is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Jackoway Tyerman.